A little romance can be good, and since inter-character relationships are such a big part of the comics w read, it only makes sense that DC would release a Valentine's Day Special issue of YOUNG ROMANCE. A little bit of background on YOUNG ROMANCE: the first issue of this title was written by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby and released back in 1947, so it's nice to see this Valentine's Day issue pay homage to that in a way. The question is, however, is the issue any good?
The issue is made up of six short love stories, each one focusing on a different comic couple and written and illustrated by a different creative team. This means that while some might be really great, there is the potential for some bad stories.
I think it's interesting that not all of these stories focus on the characters we know in love. In the case of the second story in this issue, a parallel is drawn between Mera and Aquaman and the original light house keeper's daughter. It is not only a sweet story that focuses on a love lost, but it is also romantic the way that it shows Mera and Arthur doing ordinary things like reading together. That's not a scene we see these two characters share, ever, and it's a sweet way to sort of ground their relationship. They may be heroes, but they sometimes do very ordinary things.
I really enjoyed the Midnighter and Apollo story. I think the writer really captured the tension and sensibility between these two characters and I felt it played out pretty well on panel. The tone of this particular story is also very different from the rest of the stories in this issue. It feels a lot grittier and darker the way it is written -- very minimalist in terms of dialogue. I liked the grittiness and one dimensionality of art.
The Nightwing story was great. I loved the fact that Dick is having this entertaining banter with a girl he is, or had been, dating but in the meantime he is kicking major butt. I like the dynamic of this scene a lot. The set up for this story where Dick appears to be the ultimate ladies man is entertaining, but what makes it really funny is the end. Poor Dick Grayson just can't catch a break.
The issue ends with Superman and Wonder Woman, and it's not a bad story. The story teeters on the border between romance and action, but it becomes very clear very quickly that these two just can't catch a break no matter what happens. I liked that writer Andy Diggle took from the current Wonder Woman story when he wrote this. For example, the use of Eros (who has become a prominent character in her current ongoing) was nice to see. It felt like Diggle was trying to connect concepts that exist in both series and bring them together in a rather eloquent way.
The issue opens with the story of Batman and Catwoman's first encounter. First, this is hardly a love story by any means. Second, it's really, poorly written. CATWOMAN writer Ann Nocenti pens this story that doesn't seem to make very much sense at all. I can't help but compare this version of Catwoman to versions of her character that I've read before. The dialogue is very poor, making Selina not only seem dimwitted, but Batman just does not sound like himself. The story is short, not romantic, and very awkward. The only redeeming quality is the art which isn't bad.
I'm not sure whether the Batgirl story was worse than the Catwoman and Batman story, so I will just say that they were equally as bad. The story writing and dialogue was lazy and boring, and the character that Barbara meets up with has no real connection to her save for a brief scene they shared in the BATGIRL ANNUAL #1. The scene we saw in that issue where Batgirl kisses a hood named "Ricky" should have been the beginning and the end of that particular relationship; there was no reason why that story needed to be expanded on. Additionally, I was not a big fan of the art in this story. Batgirl's proportions were all wrong and I felt there was no real
Although overall the Wonder Woman and Superman story was sweet, the art and some of the dialogue was a bit forced and not the greatest.
I think the best way to review this issue was to break it down and focus on the stories individually. Overall, for $7.99 you're getting six stories featuring some of your favorite DC characters. Most of these stories fall outside of continuity and don't really matter in the grand scheme of things and I think that can be good and bad. There are definitely some positive things about this issue. First, it is accessible to new readers. You don't really need to have a whole lot of background information on the characters and concepts we see in this issue. It's great because you get a variety of different stories featuring many of our favorite characters all in one place. So what's bad about this issue? Well, unfortunately, not every story is going to be very good. In fact, a few of them are really very bad. The issue is also pretty expensive; after taxes it costs you over $8.00. That's a lot of money for an issue that contains stories you may not necessarily like at all. So while a couple of these might be fun to read, it doesn't exactly feel like it's worth it.